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Old 03-30-2020, 01:37 PM   #1
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Battery Mode Relay

Hello, I'm new to the form. I have a 2004 Itasca Sunova 27C. When I try to start the RV (Battery disconnect switch on, Chassis battery one year old and at full charge) nothing happens. However, when I press my dash auxiliary start switch, my engine starts. When I turned the engine off, my step did not extend. Could this be a bad Battery Mode Soleniod? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Tim
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:00 PM   #2
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Hi Tim, welcome to the forum. I've attached a document that may give you some help. The systems didn't change much in the 90's and early 2000's. Also, if you search around on the Winnebago website you can find the wiring diagrams for your RV.
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File Type: pdf 2003-03 Battery Mode Disconnect.pdf (306.6 KB, 50 views)
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:24 PM   #3
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Thank you Bones 2003.
Tim
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:29 PM   #4
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Congrats on getting us most of the info we need to get started!
This is link to the 12Volt drawing for your RV:
http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/...ire_145052.pdf
However, I might throw in that I think it will be possibly two seperate questions/problems.
First might be the step as somewhat less difficult as I might guess it is a matter of what switches are flipped or used. Might be the same but maybe isolate and conquer?
When the step did not open, are we sure the battery disconnect was not open? Also some questions on the start battery. There is a problem with start batteries being drained while stored as there are various "parasitic drains" using power, like radio, clocks, ignition and we can get a situation where we have run the engine long enough to show a voltage on the battery but when we shut the engine off and it is not connected to the coach batteries, it may not have enough capacity to work, even though it shows voltage.
Just checking that as it is really pretty hard to set up so that the steps don't fly out when you open the door as they seem almost paranoid on that !
The aux start solenoid is a pretty simple switch that ties both strings together and you did prove out that it works as the engine starts when pushed but I assume it doesn't when not connected together. Only two options there, it does tie them together or it doesn't. So you get into the engine starts using coach power but not when using start battery? The solenoid doesn't disconnect the start battery but only ties the two strings together.
So I would really want to question the start battery as they seem so simple but can actually be messing with our mind more often than we like.
How difficult would it be to swap in another start battery or take it to have it load tested at a local parts store?
Sounds like work but that is really where I might be as a first thought.
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Old 03-30-2020, 05:01 PM   #5
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Since the start battery also powers the stairs. And you can only start the RV when you use the AUX battery switch one can only guess that the start battery is dead OR not connected properly.

You said it's at full charge. How did you test that? Had the battery been at full rest - no charging and no usage - for 30-mins before you tested the voltage? Did you test at the battery terminals or on the OnePlace monitor?

Perhaps I've misunderstood the situation - but that's what it sounds like to me.
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Old 03-30-2020, 06:18 PM   #6
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Richard,
Thanks for the info. Better to start with simply stuff first.
Tim
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Old 03-30-2020, 06:27 PM   #7
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Hello,
I had a trickle charger on it overnight. I measured the voltage at the chassis battery terminals. Also, the house batteries measured 12 volts. The RV was connected to shore power when measured. I checked all battery water levels. They were all good. I'm wondering if having the chassis battery on trickle charge for most of the winter degraded this battery?
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Tim
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Old 03-30-2020, 06:58 PM   #8
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The only way to get an accurate reading via voltage is to have ZERO charging and ZERO usage on the battery for 30-mins. Otherwise you're simply seeing a false reading.

If you were plugged into shore power, as you say, was ANY of the charging from that going to the chassis battery? If so, it's a bogus reading. To get a true reading take off the battery cables, go away for 30 mins and then take a reading.

Your charger should could have "degraded" (aka ruined) the battery if it ever ran dry or froze during the winter.

Pull the battery out, take it to an auto parts store and have it load tested. That will provide your answer.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:36 PM   #9
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Tim,
With COVID-19 floating around, I can understand if you might not want to take your battery in to be tested. Do you have a voltmeter that you can use to take the voltage measurement suggested by creativepart above? Do you have another battery that you could swap in? Do you have jumper cables that you could use with another battery?

I'm a little confused about your steps. Is your step switch in the ON or OFF position? Do they extend and retract at all under any circumstances? With the engine running in park, I think the steps would still extend if you open the door but then immediately retract when you close the door. If they work with the engine running, that could eliminate the steps as a problem. With the engine off, listen carefully as you open and close the door to see if the steps at least try to move. That would point to a weak battery (unless the battery is to far gone to even try to move the steps.)
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Old 04-02-2020, 02:54 PM   #10
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Bones2003
I swapped batteries and the RV started. I'm thinking about installing the Sure Power 1325A Bi-Directional Battery Separator.
Thanks again for your help
Tim
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Old 04-02-2020, 06:16 PM   #11
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There are quite a few folks on here who use this and find it fits what they want:
https://www.lslproducts.net/TLSPage.html
This is the company site and just a starter on shopping if you get around to buying but good info on hookup. I use it to keep my start battery charged but not overcharged to go dry. I think of it as sort of one-way to let some power move from the coach batteries if the start battery get low during storage. I have access to a plug to run a cord to the RV and normally just used a small battery charger but this is a very simple three wire hookup and I leave it hooked all the time without having to pull the battery cover, etc. to hook up temp. charging.
Like it.
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Old 04-02-2020, 09:05 PM   #12
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Richard,
Thank you. The product looks great. The only hassle with my RV is the solenoid location, which is in the forward passenger side storage compartment relay box.
Tim
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Old 04-03-2020, 08:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Nadaud View Post
Richard,
Thank you. The product looks great. The only hassle with my RV is the solenoid location, which is in the forward passenger side storage compartment relay box.
Tim
Yes, this was a problem for me as well as I did not find that location to be nice for me. So I looked at why they said to put it there and found it was more theory than I wanted to live with. The idea is that we want to move as much stuff away from the battery fumes as we can as those fumes do cause corrosion. We know that because we have to keep the cables cleaned.
So the question becomes if I want to do the hard stuff to get it mounted away from the batteries or do I want to add the three wires to the total cleaning job at the battery box. It's just three small wires, one to the coach battery, one to the start and one to ground, so I don't see the extra cleaning as a big enough worry to go to lots of trouble to avoid it.
In my battery compartment, I don't need to go direct on the batteries as there are off-battery connecting points which work well for me and the ground is down on the frame.
On a 1-10 rating, I find it only about a 2 for worry! There's theory and then there's practical. I'm going with practical in this case. If the wires corrode and break off, I'll have to clean them but those wires are a small item compared to the big cables to clean.
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Old 04-03-2020, 09:41 AM   #14
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Richard,
In my battery box I have the off-battery connecting points. Three plus cables are connected their. How did you use this point to connect your unit. And where did you mount the battery separator unit

Thanks
Tim
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Old 04-03-2020, 10:13 AM   #15
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Was simple but so simple I'm not sure exactly what I did!
But I mounted the small box of electronics on the back wall of the compartment, just anywhere that I could get to for screwing it on and I like to see the lights if I ever need to look. Then each wire is ID'd as something that says "coach" and "start" with the last as ground. So instead of actually putting it on the coach battery terminal, I followed cable from that to some lug near the box and went there. Did the same for start.
What they propose is following the cables to the solenoid and then doing it there.
Once you get hands on the item, it makes lots more sense as it is about the size of an old box of large wooden matches so pretty easy to find an open spot and then the wiring is more what we can run and not leave it flopping or running somewhere that will make it harder to clean or work on the batteries.
Pictures work better !
Yellow to coach positive, Down below and almost out of sight is the ground lug, Hardest one to get to for working, and and blue to right for start positive terminal/connection. It is smaller than remembered. too!
Self tapping, self drilling screws are great to run into the metal with a cordless drill. I could have gone right to the negative of any battery but I guess I like to bust my knuckles?
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Old 04-03-2020, 02:46 PM   #16
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Richard,
Thanks again for the info. Whats got me confused is all positive battery cables are connected to one node. I may have to go to the Solenoid to make connections. I tried to show a picture, but since I'm new to the forum I couldn't figure out how.
Tim
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Old 04-03-2020, 06:16 PM   #17
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since it only draws a tiny amount of current on the tiny wires, it really doesn't make any difference where we get to on either the positive coach or positive start as all we want to do is tap in to drain a tiny bit from the coach to the start at any time that the start battery gets down to a preset level.
If we were speaking of running lots of current like during charging, there is some theoretical advantage to locate the connection near the center of any wiring so the resistance is closer to the same. Kind of theory type thing but at this small amount of current making it draw the same from one coach battery as the other is not going to be anything to worry.
Maybe not thinking what you are say on all running to one node??? Are you speaking of what you see at the batteries or at the solenoid?
If pictures are handy, that is better. For posting, have the picture on the computer/phone, etc. and when posting click go advanced in the box below the new post you are writing to bring up another screen and scroll down to "manage attachments" where you can find "choose file" where you go to the picture and choose it, then don't fail to click the "upload" to get it moved over.
Harder to post pictures than wire the thing! Try it to see if that works?
Enjoy the trip, I got nothing else to do while in QT!
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Old 04-03-2020, 08:24 PM   #18
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Battery connections

Richard,
Here's a picture of my battery bay (with chassis bat removed).
Tim
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Old 04-03-2020, 08:52 PM   #19
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My that does look like a lot of red leads on one post. I think I see the red positive lead for the start batty laying loose. Does one of the other ed leads go to the positive on the coach battery then?
I'm getting a bit nervous and thinking we may be seeing some "homemade" solution to some type of problem as there are some things that are not original looking. The clamp for the start battery looked like it has been replaced and things don't look right on that many leads on that post. Can you see well enough to tell where the other two red leads on that post go? One logically goes to the front for the starter solenoid to start the engine but any idea on the other? Hard to tell from pictures but it seems like the coach and start battery positives have all been combined and that is not what I think of as normal.
If I'm seeing it correctly there seems no way to use the coach battery without using the start battery down at the same time and that's not the normal I think of but then I may be totally missing the picture from here.
A little late here but I will try to take a drawing look in the morning and see what it tells should be the right way and then we can look for better ideas.
Ten at night is not my best brain power and this looks a bit "odd".
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Old 04-04-2020, 08:43 AM   #20
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Okay, had time to do a little digging and got some info but not what I really wanted. The drawings are a help but sometimes they seem to be missing some items I expect to find.
This link gets you to page 2 of the "chassis electrical box" and shows the solenoids:
http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/...ire_145752.pdf
This gets you the drawing of the battery box as if standing inside looking down on it. The wall is the top of the drawing:
http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/...ire_145049.pdf
They show the negatives on the coach batteries toward the wall and the start battery opposite and toward the inside but all the negatives connected together on the ground. That feels right.
Looking at the attached picture, I see no info on where the positive posts are connected???
We could pretty well guess the negative were grounded but the bigger question is where the positive go.
Will study this some more if nobody else has good ideas and it doesn't make sense from what you see.From looking at your picture, I think I see the cable laying loose might be the positive cable and going to the lug with the other positives and that would make it impossible for the solenoid to separate the two strings. Not what you want unless there is something special or I'm missing what I see?
Are your solenoids located right next to the battery box as shown on this drawing or far away somewhere? Might make it easier to trace if that short!
My solenoids are on the far side of the RV and have to remove a fuse panel to get to them so I've never been there.
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